Mugen Power’s extended batteries for the HTC EVO 4G

If you own an HTC EVO, or if you saw my first and second posts on how I get as much wire-free performance from my EVO as possible, you know what a power hungry beast the device is. Huge display, 4G radio, GPS… HTC’s killer gadget is more than a pocket computer. But all that potential power means you’ve got to keep the juice flowing, and the best way to do this is with an extended battery, preferably in conjunction with a software solution like Juice Defender. That second bit isn’t required but can save your butt in an emergency, like being locked out of your car in the middle of nowhere.

In the two posts linked above, I was testing Seidio’s 3,500mAh EVO battery, which comes with a funky replacement cover that I’ll get to in a minute. While I was able to achieve better (and worse), I leveled out to about two full days of use with the Seidio. By the end of the second day, the battery generally died after about 20 minutes of listening to MP3s in bed. That was my routine for nearly two months.

Over this last week, I’ve been testing two solutions from Mugen Power: an 1,800mAh battery that works with the stock EVO cover, and a 3,200mAh version with it’s own rear plate. But before we get into my uptime results, let’s take a look at how the batteris compare when it comes to the second most important factor in purchasing an extended battery: bulk. (cont.)

From left to right: Stock EVO 1,500mAh battery, Mugen Power 1,800mAh, Seidio 3,500mAh, and Mugen Power’s 3,200mAh.

The MP 1,800mAh on top of my stock EVO 1,500mAh.

The 1,800mAh battery from Mugen Power is actually a bit thinner than the battery that ships with HTC’s EVO, and therefore does not require a replacement battery cover. For those of you looking for just a little extra juice to get you through those last few hours of the day, this battery is a great option. A 20% increase in milliampere hours may make the difference in your habit of turning off 4G when not using it or neglecting your tunes on the train in order to extend your gadget day. This one is $44.95, and can offer you a couple of extra hours, depending on usage habits.

For me, 1,800mAh (along with Juice Defender) means getting through the day and listening to MP3s in bed at night. But I need to mention here that I am a semi-heavy user. I like 4G and I like GPS. The stock EVO battery left me wanting in a bad way. If you’re in the same boat but don’t want to carry a fat brick in your pocket, Mugen’s 1,800 option is a good start. However, for me personally, it’s not worth buying an extended battery unless I can achieve more significant gains, which is why I go for the 3,000-plus mAh beasts.

Mugen’s 3,200mAh on the left, Seidio’s 3,500mAh on the right.

When comparing the performance of a 3,200mAh battery to a 3,500mAh battery in a phone, the difference is negligible. We’re talking about two days of what I would consider average use with either one. For those that get into life-extending tweaks and conserving software, it’s two full days of heavy use. With one of these in my pocket, I charge when I’m using turn-by-turn navigation and well, whenever I feel like it, really. So in my mind, the primary issues are bulk and durability.

I can testify to the longevity of my Seidio 3,500 because after two months, I have seen no significant change in capacity. I frequently push use over 50 hours when I’m not using a lot of power hungry features. I also frequently drain the Seido completely and charge it all the way up, which combats shrinking capacities. I’ve had the Mugen batteries for a shorter stint, and will report back one month from today on their long-term hold up. That’s Thanksgiving, so file that in your memory banks. For now, let’s address bulk.

Mugen Power’s 3,200mAh battery cover.

Seidio’s 3,500mAh battery cover.

The difference between the Seidio and Mugen battery covers is pretty obvious: one is smooth and round and bulky, one is jagged and odd and…chunky. Personal taste counts for a lot here so I’m not going to say one is better than the other. I’ll just show you the pictures. Both result in roughly the same thickness at the fattest point, the Mugen back being just a bit thicker and more difficult to snap into place. Both have a soft touch exterior.

The Mugen Monster

Mugen’s 3,200mAh battery runs $96.95 at their website, and delivers a hefty punch. Seidio’s Innocell 3,500mAh goes for $69.95. So there is quite a gap between the two, and it turns out the cheaper one offers up more milliampere hours. But perhaps Mugen’s extended battery will outperform Seideo in the long run. Check back at DroidDog on Thanksgiving to find out. Perhaps you prefer a slick, rounded device with a bit more bulk over one that looks awkward and even clumsy. It’s all personal taste there. I’m still digging my goofy Seidio cover, but I’ll rock the Mugen Power for a month and let you know what I find.

UPDATE: 11/24/10

One month ago, I wrote this review after one week’s use of Mugen’s 1,800mAh and 3,200mAh extended batteries for my HTC EVO. At the time, I was seeing one full day of heavy use with the smaller battery, and two full days with the larger. During the period after the post, I was using Juice Defender, was fairly careless with GPS and 4G, and I experienced no decrease in battery capacity in over two weeks. So, I stopped using Juice Defender. To my surprize, I was still able to get an entire day from the 1,800mAh battery as long as I plugged in for GPS and used 4G sparingly; and two full days with the 3,200mAh under the same conditions. (That should not be interpreted to mean that Juice Defender is no good; on the contrary: it saves as much juice as I waste on GPS and 4G, which is often considerable. The primary question I was looking to answer was regarding diminished capacity/function, neither of which turned out to be an issue.

So my experience has been positive, and I can say that these Mugen batteries have proven durable for a little over a month now.